How Much Do You Know About Combat Aviation in the U.S. Army?


By: Gavin Thagard

6 Min Quiz


About This Quiz

"Fighting in the air is not a sport. It is scientific murder." - Eddie Rickenbacker 

The United States Army is the oldest branch in the U.S. military, with a history that can be traced back to the Continental Army in 1775. The Army, of course, has developed significantly since then, as warfare has changed as well as the purpose of the military. One of the biggest changes is combat aviation, which brought warfare from the ground to the air, first with airplanes, then with helicopters. The U.S. Army has found a way to incorporate the latter into its structure, creating one of the most effective and deadly forces in the military. 

Combat aviators for the U.S. Army are capable of launching attacks, dropping troops, scouting the area, and much more as aviation technology continues to grow. The helicopters that make up these units have become part of the backbone of the Army, integral in their strategies and operations. 

How much do you know about combat aviation in the U.S. Army, though? Could you pass a quiz on the subject by naming the most important helicopters used by the Army or how the units are constructed? Here's your chance to find out. That's if you're up for the challenge. 

What's the full name for combat aviation in the U.S. Army?

Brigades make up part of the structure of the Army. They are typically further broken down into battalions.


What are U.S. helicopters named after?

There is a lot that goes into picking a name for a military helicopter. It starts by getting a list of approved names from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.


How many types of combat aviation brigades are there?

Names chosen for helicopters have to reflect the aggressive spirit of the machines. Once the name is chosen, it has to be checked by the U.S. Patent Office.


Which is NOT a type of combat aviation brigade?

Native American tribes hold a ceremony for military helicopters after a name is chosen. This is partly to honor the tradition of Native Americans who have fought in the U.S. Army.


What type of battalion is a combat aviation brigade?

Native Americans actually have a long tradition of fighting alongside the U.S. Army, which dates back to the beginning of the country. Throughout the various wars since then, 25 Native Americans have received​ the Medal of Honor.


Which is an attack helicopter?

The Apache received its name in 1981. It went into full production the next year after improvements were made to the test version.


How many blades does an Apache have?

The Apache carries some massive firepower. It comes equipped with a 30mm M230 chain gun as well as AGM-114 Hellfire missiles.


When was the first Apache helicopter introduced into the U.S. Army?

The Apache was originally designed and produced by Hughes Helicopters. That company was purchased in 1984 by McDonnell-Douglas.


What was revolutionary about the Apache?

The helmet-mounted display was known as the Integrated Helmet and Display Sighting System. It allowed pilots on the helicopter to operate the M230 chain gun with their helmet.


Which attack helicopter preceded the Apache?

The Bell AH-1 Cobra was used in the Vietnam War. It played a major part in the Tet Offensive, which was a large-scale attack by the Viet Cong and North Vietnam in 1968.


When was the Apache first used in combat?

The United States is not the only country that uses the Apache. The attack helicopter is popular in countries like Australia, Saudi Arabia, Greece and Japan.


When was the Apache Longbow released?

When Apaches were first built, they cost around $14 million. As new versions arose, that price only increased, with some selling for over $35 million.


Which of these is a reconnaissance helicopter?

The Kiowa was built based off the civilian Bell Model 206 JetRanger. This helicopter was extremely successful in the civilian market, which is one of the reasons it was selected for the Army.


What war did the Kiowa first take part in?

Production of Kiowas began in 1966. It ran until 1989.


When was the Kiowa Warrior retired?

No helicopter has officially replaced the Kiowa since it was retired. Instead, the Apache has been incorporated as a dual-purpose helicopter, though the Army is still looking for a replacement.


When were aviation units first named combat aviation brigades?

The decision to rename aviation units was made during the reorganization plan of the United States Army. The reorganization began in 2006 under General Peter Schoomaker.


Which of these is a medium lift helicopter?

Black Hawks come with an external cargo hook. This can be used to carry up to 8,000 lbs.


Which helicopter was the runner-up to the Black Hawk in the United States Army Tactical Transport Aircraft System competition in 1972?

Inside the helicopter, a Black Hawk can carry 11 fully-geared soldiers. This is one of the reasons they're so effective for troop deployment.


Which helicopter did the Black Hawk replace in 1979?

Black Hawks are used in various types of missions. Some of those include medical evacuations along with search and rescue missions.


How many engines does the Black Hawk have?

Black Hawks are powered by two T700-GE-701D engines. They have a cruise speed of 174mph.


Which type of helicopters are heavy-lift helicopters?

The Chinooks are a Native American tribe from the Pacific Northwest. They were one of the tribes encountered during the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1805.


How many rotors do Chinooks have?

Chinooks are capable of carrying up to 25,000 Ibs. This is more weight than the helicopter weighs without cargo.


What year was the Chinook introduced into service?

Over 1,200 Chinooks have been built since they were first introduced. The United States and the United Kingdom are two of the largest purchasers of these helicopters.


What's it called when a Chinook deposits soldiers on a cliff without landing?

The pinnacle maneuver made Chinooks valuable in mountainous regions. They could drop artillery and supply troops without having to land.


Which type of helicopters were used by RAID during the War on Drugs?

In 1989, the Army National Guard became part of the War on Drugs to aid various law enforcement agencies. As part of their new mission, the Reconnaissance and Aerial Interdiction Detachments was created in 1992, which included 76 Kiowas to deploy as needed.


How many Apache helicopters are there in a heavy combat aviation brigade?

The Apache holds a two-man crew. That crew consists of the pilot and the co-pilot gunner.


How many Black Hawk helicopters are in an assault helicopter battalion for a heavy combat aviation brigade?

Black Hawks were heavily used during the war in Iraq. In fact, they were involved in the mission to capture Osama bin Laden, which resulted in his death.


How many attack reconnaissance squadron helicopters are in a medium combat aviation brigade?

Black Hawks first saw action during the invasion of Grenada in 1983. Nine helicopters were lost during the invasion.


Prior to Kiowas being dropped, which helicopters were NOT part of a light combat aviation brigade?

In 1997, Boeing Defense, Space & Security took over production of Apache helicopters. Over 2,000 have been constructed since they were first introduced.


All three types of combat aviation brigades have what?

The general support aviation battalion is one of the most important battalions in a brigade. The battalion is responsible for maintaining refuel and repair companies to deploy as needed.


When does the lineage for the Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division start?

The Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division was activated at Fort Hood, Texas. The division's headquarters are still located there.


Where are the headquarters for the Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division?

The Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division has been around since 1985. However, it was inactivated for nearly five years from 1991 until 1996.


Which combat aviation brigade headed Operation New Dawn in 2010?

Operation New Dawn marked the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After the bulk of the troops were removed from the area, the remaining soldiers were put into advisory roles to help train the Iraqi Security Forces.


Who is the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade subordinate​ to?

I Corps was first activated during World War I. Since then, they have been deployed in various major conflicts, including World War II and the Korean War.


Where is the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade stationed?

The 12th Combat Aviation Brigade was a non-organic aviation unit during the Vietnam War. However, not long into the war, the brigade was re-designated as part of the 1st Aviation Brigade, making up the largest unit of this type during the war.


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